Reading time: 4 Minutes
This month, a landmark British Regus Centre turns 20 years old. Here’s how it has helped shape the local business community
Swindon’s Windmill Hill Business Park is not your typical British outer-city hub. For a start, next to the glass-fronted contemporary office buildings there’s a 22-foot windmill – dating back to the 1820s, it was brought here in the 1980s from its original home in Chiseldon, brick by brick, and rebuilt. It’s perched proudly on a grassy mound where, at the bottom, Regus Swindon Windmill Hill Business Park members enjoy garden parties, picnics and al fresco working in the summer.
“The building is a C-shape, which helps channel the Wi-Fi out here,” says Christine Razey, Team Leader and Community Manager for Regus for Wiltshire, Gloucester and Newbury. “So a lot of people go outside and work on the benches – you can sit in the sunshine and use the internet with a view of the windmill.”
This month is a monumental one for the business park as it celebrates its 20-year anniversary. One of the longest-standing Regus centres, it has been providing quality office space in Swindon since 1999, when the flexible working revolution was in its infancy. Since then, solo entrepreneurs have made it their base and capitalised on the prime location – surrounded by large corporations (Nokia and Vodafone used to call it home) – and watched their businesses go from strength to strength.
One of these members is the Torchlight Group, a leading global provider of security, stability and rule-of-law solutions. Established in 2011 by CEO Ed Dickson and Executive Director Sean Lumley, Torchlight is one of the centre’s proudest success stories. “The journey started in an internal two-man room in Regus Swindon and a good idea,” says Alice Budds, Torchlight’s Business Strategy Manager. “Eight years later, we are delighted and proud to still be here. Regus has played a critical role in our growth, with their team seamlessly integrating with our own to ensure great flexibility and support.”
Regus Swindon Windmill Hill has always mingled well with its neighbours, and the businesses based here. International corporations currently sharing the space include RWE, Arvul Vehicle Leasing and Nationwide – the latter employs more than 9,000 people in its head office, and makes use of the meeting rooms in Swindon provided by Regus.
As well as offering top-notch flexible private offices and coworking space in Swindon, Regus Swinson Windmill Hill prides itself on its thriving sense of community, aided by its regular events and socials that invite nearby corporations and local partners in. “We recently did a Halloween Delight – staff dressed up and chased some of the clients around the corridors!” says Razey. “There’s great community spirit here. And we’re about to introduce Motivational Mondays and Fun Fridays.”
Fun Fridays will be a chance for members to enjoy talks and presentations offering business advice and chat with fellow local businesspeople over wine and cheese, craft beer, or strawberries and prosecco. It’s also an opportunity for members to showcase their business to others. “Any of our member businesses or local partners are invited to do presentations,” says Razey. “We had Gym Buddy come and do a presentation here, and show how they are part of the gym offering for our Regus members. We also had another member do a talk about GDPR, for example.”
Swindon continues to thrive economically, and regularly attracts investment enquiries thanks to its skilled workforce and attractive location – both London and Oxford are accessible in an hour by rail. Those looking to establish a virtual office in Swindon to make the most of its opportunities can call upon Windmill Hill and make it their local business address – with all calls and mail handled by the centre’s staff.
Over the past 20 years, the Regus Centre has been an incubator for fledgling businesses looking to build their network. “This centre is where small businesses start,” says Razey. “There’s so much room for them to expand and grow, and to be nurtured here with the support of our staff. The community is fantastic, that networking that you normally have to go out and do, you can do it here, under one roof.”
Find out how Regus can help your business